New CEO Lisa Haglund Turns Around Finances at Chautauqua County Nonprofit

Consider the range of challenges tied to running an $84 million organization serving older adults with 11 residential locations across four states. Now add in the Covid-19 pandemic and you’ll have some idea of what the last nine months have looked like for Lisa Haglund.

Lisa Haglund in April was named president and CEO for the Heritage Ministries Charitable Care Network, a Chautauqua County nonprofit. It has nine affiliated nonprofit corporations, including Heritage Village Rehab and Skilled Nursing Inc. in Jamestown, Vinecroft retirement community in Clarence and the Homestead retirement community in Gerry.

She is the first woman in the organization’s 134-year history to hold the position. Haglund, who joined Heritage in 2016, most recently was vice president for marketing, sales and development at Northwest Bank, where she spent 22 years. A Rochester native, Haglund grew up in Hornell and met her husband at Alfred College, then raised her family in Chautauqua County.

Haglund replaced David Smeltzer, who led the organization for more than two decades, including a period of rapid growth in recent years that included expansions across New York and into three other states since 2015.

That growth happened a bit faster than it should have, leading to three consecutive years of deficits, including a $9 million loss in 2019. That led to the change in leadership, Haglund said.

“We went into the growth with a nonprofit mindset, and while they have a good mission and we have a good mission, what we didn’t do was look at the geography and culture and the business side. So we should have done our due diligence,” she said.

“We have areas that are performing very well and outperforming others, so we are revenue strong,” Haglund said, “but we just were not being wise with expenses, consolidation and efficiencies. As we’ve improved all that, that’s been our saving grace.”

Haglund has worked with the board of directors and the executive leadership team to cut expenses and tighten operations. A projected deficit for 2020 of $12 million has shrunk to less than $1 million.

“My job is to conduct a turnaround, so our financials have taken a 180-degree turn,” she said. “Suddenly it became a need to balance the mission with margin. We can’t run our mission if we don’t have the business acumen and margin behind it.”

Continue reading this story from Buffalo Business News, where it was originally published.